Fruit Ciders have been a growing segment of the cider market for a few years now. Much to the horror of Cider purists. While I tend to agree with them, there is a strong argument if people are drinking crappy fruit ciders why shouldn’t the craft Cidermakers get in there and show them how it’s done right.
It is basically impossible to find out where the fruit comes from on a mass market cider. It could be because there is no fruit being used, only flavours or slightly better: concentrated juice. Which is in stark contrast to the following Fruit Ciders. All if these producers grow their own apple and the added fruit, or they source it from nearby orchards.
Some of them add the fruit to the apple juice before the ferment which leads to less residual sugars and can hide the fruitiness but promotes often unseen flavours. Other Cidermakers will add the fruit juice after the ferment. This sweetens the cider and allows for the most recognizable juice flavours to come through. These techniques are often tightly held secrets of the Cidermaker
Fruit Ciders Go Head to Head
Pagan Blueberry And Apple
With the colour of a light port the Pagans Blueberry and Apple has plenty of crushed blueberry scent with the sharpness of crisp green apples. Plenty sweet and low on fizz, wrap the Cider around your mouth.
3 Sons Blackberry Cider
With a little bit of research, I think it was meant to be a blackberry Cider but I’m still not sure. It’s giving me the vibe of a Somerset farmhouse style Cider. This is one example of where the blackberries were fermented with the apple juice and not back sweetened. The result is a very interesting slow drinking cider that you’ll love to nurse through the night. Much like a Somerset Farmhouse Cider.
Frank’s Raspberry and Pear Cider
This is a really bright Cider by Franks. The scent of raspberries is very inviting, overflowing with acids from fresh raspberry matched with gentle rolling sweetness from the pears makes this very easy to drink.
Spreyton Apple & Raspberry
Of the lot on the table the scent of the fruit is the most distinctive here. The taste reminds me of raspberry skin just before you crush it between your teeth which a bit of earthiness. If you are familiar with Spreytons Classic Apple Cider you will recognize elements here. A proper grown up cordial.
Balholm Hopped Cider
Balholm are a Norwegian Cider making label. The citrus is the hero of this drink, craft beer fans are going to love the fresh scent and taste. However, under the hoppy hit is a slight mouseyness in the taste. It is still very fresh tasting for a nearly 2-year-old.
I came across this tweet from the English beer brewer Will Longmate who does a lot of work at beer and cider festivals. He was talking about flavoured/fruit ciders
Always a favourite of festival goers. I tend to find that it’s the flavoured ones profit which subsidies the wastage on puritan ones which hardly sell
— Will Longmate (@Longm8) June 4, 2019
So while the purists might not choose to drink a fruit ciders, that ok, because if Fruit Ciders they help keep Cidermakers in business that is a win. If the Cidermakers are profitable, that means they can afford to make the lower volume, specialty, true apple ciders that cider snobs like me go nuts for. And hey we might introduce a few fruit cider fans to great apple cider along the way.
So what are your thoughts on Fruit ciders? Should the category have another name? In the UK the tax department calls them “made wine” which is never going to catch on. I think the one thing we can all agree on is that these products are much better when real fresh fruit is involved.